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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Value.

I've been asked more than once if we've ever found anything valuble (our RE was laughing about that the last time we bought a house as she said she never finds old painting or jewels when she buys a house, she just finds junk!). So the answer to that - is sort of . But the most valuable thing we've found, was not a price tag valuble. 

I've found plenty of funny things, I have a pair of safety goggles from the 40's or so that would make any steam punk fan drool. David once endured a hail of Penthouse when he renovated the bathroom in the college rental we bought and he took the drop ceiling down.  A lot of tchotchke,tourist souvenirs from Florida, ceramic figurines, a very old biscuit box. My favorite find as everyone knows is the giant purple bridesmaid dress that not only has 6 inch ruffles gracing the bottom but also an underskirt with rows of ruffles. It had been carefully dry cleaned and was in a plastic bag, apparently someone fell for the old " I know it's expensive but you CAN wear it again!". I've owned it for 5 years and I can honestly tell you I have yet to find any occasion suitable despite my trying. When we bought this house the former owner's sister was very kind and left a picture of the house in it's heyday on the fireplace mantel where it has remained. If we ever leave the picture will stay behind because the value of it is not the picture itself, but the subject matter - it's value is to the owner of the house. Which leads us to what David found in the wall upstairs. 

When he started gutting and pulling down the walls he found a very old, but intact leather coal mining utility belt. A lot of times things end up behind walls when they renovate which I'm sure is how it ended up there. Despite it's obvious age and being leather it was in one piece, being in a wall probably  helped preserve it. Due to it's age and collectability I'm sure it was worth something - I say "was" because I no longer have it. There was a small metal plate which I cleaned gently - it had two things on it. The name of the coal mine - and the name of the coal miner which I recognized immediately because we are friendly with the former owner's niece.  She was very excited about our find so the belt went from here to there, but it didn't stop. She called this morning to let me know how happy the family was because the coal miner's grandson is still alive and well and he got the belt yesterday in the mail. They're researching how to have it restored and then later on it will be handed down to this man's grandson - it's officially a  family heirloom again and I'm sure if you asked them what the value is, it would be priceless. So the answer to if we've ever found something valuable would be yes, but the value would be in our being able to give it back to someone who will cherish something that they didn't even know they had. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

LIfe Without Cable

So, one of the things we did when we moved here was when we signed up for phone, Internet, etc.... was to opt out of cable TV. We have the most basic - about 10 channels of which 6 are infomercials 24/7. One of the reasons we did this of course w as cost, but the main reason was what everyone complains about - I'm paying for 200 channels and I only watch 3. And that's true, isn't it? We watched: The Big Bang current and reruns, home and garden, and well, more home and garden. What we found we watched mostly was Netflix and Hulu, we also had a Prime account with Amazon that we never thought of using. So we did. We cut the cable and retained those 3 services for a total of about thirty bucks a month, as opposed to over a hundred.

It changes your viewing habits, we still watch home and garden shows, but now we've added in the international ones from Britain and other countries. You find yourself binge watching a lot - because you can. I recently discovered NCIS of which there are a gazillion episodes. Catfish I love and if you ask me why, I have no idea. It's a full hour which generally leads to disappointment, the guy that thinks he's been chatting with a beach babe usually finds out he's fallen in love with a 50 year old guy named Sam who was bored. I've seen the bad landlords of England, the over the top renovation in Australia, documentaries, on and on. But I guess the real question is - do I miss cable?

A little I suppose. With the online services you have to hunt around for anything new, all the latest episodes you have to  wait for. There's a lot of just stuff I suppose, Korean soap operas, etc... that is just not interesting. But that can be said for cable too. And it does takes some getting used to, but in the end the money we've saved over the past year far outweighs the benefit of being able to watch the latest episodes when everyone else does. And I've also discovered if you don't see it, you don't miss it. So, we'll stay with the Internet services.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

If You Can't Stand The Heat.........



......you can get out of the kitchen of course. But if you're me you'll whine endlessly and announce the temperature every chance you get. You'd think moving into a two story cement block house it would cooler, wouldn't you? I mean, it's almost like a cave sort of thing or one of those subterranean houses they used to build in the70's that were supposed to be super energy efficient (they were not by the way, they were very dampish and dim, perfect if you were mutated from mushrooms). But it is not - it's like living in a kiln, the sun hits it and it just starts warming up. And up. And up. By 7am it was about 76 in here and that was before the sun was fully up.

Molly did NOT appreciate it at all. 

Fans will only take you so far and then they just start blowing the hot air around. The idea of cooking or doing anything that will add more heat just is a big no.You do NOT get used to it. But we have an air conditioning unit and a new furnace downstairs which will be hooked up when the flip house is done. Which isn't done. Not done = no airconditioning. And we were going to hang in there which we did until the real heat hit. Yuck.

So David broke down and I came home to him unboxing a window unit, seriously - have you heard the phrase "Jesus wept"? That was me. Of course it didn't go in the window easily, the opening was about 1/100th of an inch too small but David figured it and got it in. It was like watching a miracle. For about half an hour we all sat in front of it like a flying saucer had just landed in the front yard, it works great between the small unit in the bedroom and we've shut off the sun rooms for now. Upstairs is VERY special, if you ever need a confession let me know - you can borrow the bedroom upstairs and whoever it is will be singing like a canary in no time. Since this is a temporary situation I've hung a blanket at the bottom of the stairs and it works well. When I worked in WV a lot of families do this during the winter and summer - it's a cheap way to block off the part of the house you're not using and conserve energy. Not too pretty but very effective. And since it's a temporary situation - I don't care one bit how backwoods it looks. The flip house is taking longer than expected but David figures the second week in July it will  be ready to roll. After that he will go back to working on this house - and then it's decision time!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Shania Twain,Brittney Spears - and Trump.

When I work out in the morning I put exercise videos on one tablet and music video play lists on the other - I LOVE YouTube! This morning Shania Twain's " I feel like a woman" came on followed by Britney Spears "Stronger" - both were in tight,black,low cut outfits, lots of dancing, etc... they were made about the same time. But while Shania's was objectifying(men staring and I swear one licked his lips like a dog), Brittney's..was inspiring. She made it clear you could be a woman and still succeed - or as one transgender parent observed on a Ted Talks - "when you take away feminine you're left with masculine, is that the message I want for my daughter? That there's something wrong with being a girl?". Are you wondering where Trump works into this? Because my train of thought wandered while I was planking.... and I thought about how had we, in a country full of smart strong women allowed this misogynistic mess stay in office? But you know what - every cloud has a silver lining - even Trump

The best way to unite a country, a people, a front is to have a common enemy. When Gandhi stood against the British in peaceful protest, they left. The story of Hanukkah, history is full of examples of people pulling together and overcoming. He's such an awful person, isn't he? At his inauguration he was far more concerned with trying to convince people that thousands, not hundreds had attended while ignoring the millions that showed up to let him know he needed to leave. His attacks on Planned Parenthood were wildly unsuccessful, they're still open and we are still fighting to keep our rights to abortion and birth control. His latest outrageous attempt to control our border infuriated - but.......

For the first time in a long time I think a lot of us are really considering what is important to us. None of us want families separated but on the other hand we are more aware of the need to control immigration. Our crops are rotting because we cannot continue to allow illegal aliens but is there an alternative? I think we're already finding it because we have to. We are fighting the good fight every day whether it's donating to Planned Parenthood, signing petitions or marching - we are counting. And we continue because the best way to get people to fight for their rights is to take them away. Had we gotten too complacent, turning the other way? All of these things have been going on all along but until Trump  pushed our faces into it, that he wants all these bad things - we have been forced to look at it and find we can no longer accept all of these injustices. Do I want him to have a second term? Absolutely not - one was more than enough thank you and in the grander scheme of things we would have been much better off not having to endure his antics whether it's his open admiration of a despot or his collusion with the russians. But in the end he has made us a better people as we come together to fight our common enemy. But who would have ever thought in a million years the Enemy would be our own president??

Sunday, June 17, 2018

I'm Dye-ing!

Ha! So many ways to go with that title, isn't there? Anyhoo, anyone who knits usually knows you can buy undyed yarn to be custom dyed for a project -  my next project I've been unable to find a color in lace weight that worked and I've wanted to try this for awhile so perfect! On the downside this venture might have been better done in October since it involved hot yarn, boiling water and I still have no central air so it was I imagine pretty similar to how they dye wool yarn in the Congo. So I sent my my request to the Gods Of Amazon plus $7.31 and I got my dye. I read the directions online fairly carefully and only ignored half of them, good on me!

I had bought as you remember four 2,500 yard skeins of lace weight alpaca from the alpaca ladies even after they swore they were out of the yarn business. The Power Of Being Annoying occasionally pays off, doesn't it? I tied up the skeins first, lace weight alplaca yarn is fairly delicate and very tangly without sticking in a pot of water and stirring it so I did that first. I knew I might get a little tie-dye effect but that's ok, it will look fine I hope. So I heated the water and dissolved the powdered dye, then mixed it in the pot I'd bought. I had purchased a cheapie pot from Walmart yesterday before reading the directions about it needing to be ceramic or stainless steel, not aluminum. Oops. Oh well, too late now!

So, now I'm trying very hard not get to dye all over creation because we all know how I am but so far so good. I dunked the first skein in and held it under the water like an ex-husband, then went back for the other one. The other one was still hanging on the door knob because I thought it made a more romantic sort of picture.  Note to self - when dyeing two skeins of yarn bring them BOTH over at the same time so I'm not walking around with wet, dye drippy gloves. Sigh. 


This is the part where you have to heat it slowly to about 120 degrees - I knew I had a thermometer in one of my drawers but then again I was wrong so I ended up having to eyeball and imagine what 120 degrees would look like. That is not half as easy as it sounds, that sounds like it might be boiling, doesn't it? Had to google that - it is simmering, but kind of a low simmer, staring doesn't help figure out what 120 degrees looks like at all. In case you're wondering yarn boiling in dye in the middle of June does not smell half as warm and cozy as you think it does. It smells like a sheep you left out in the sun too long. 

Then you have to add vinegar to set the color - so now it smells like a hot and tangy sheep. And you get to simmer it at your imagined 120 degrees for another half an hour. After this it gets washed with - you guessed it! - MORE hot water. Yarn that has been boiling for over an hour is not only stinky but hot hot hot! This is seriously not the Fun and Relaxing Sunday Project I had imagined last week. BUT....

I gently wrung it out and guess what - it's exactly the shade I need! Exactly! My next project is Lily of the Valley and even though this is a tad darker than the pattern it will still be perfect. 

Yay me!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Stepping Back

Sometimes one of the hardest things to do is to know when you need to throw in the towel and say I'm done. Due to recent - and sometimes overwhelming events - I spent a day last week just trying to figure out what I need to do right now. Some things are straightening themselves out, all of that nonsense with the idiot neighbors next door to the flip house that had thier utility pole and nasty old shed on our property - West Penn came and removed all the lines and shut off all the utilities, they ended up having to dig up and move the pole themselves. They sold the property to other relatives, but David said they're very nice. When he asked about the shed they told they would appreciate it if he took it down, they thought it was an eyesore, if he didn't they would eventually. One down. He did have to contain himself when the idiot neighbor was back in town having to dig up and move the wires himself since he'd promised the buyers they would have electricity. One of the things he had yelled at David during that ruckus was "You'll see what happens when you mess with me!" - David refrained from yelling that while Mr. Idiot was sweating away digging up the wires, he was tempted though!
One down.

Next was the test I'm scheduled to take in a week and a half. After talking to the person that runs the CRRN program she agreed it would be a good decision to postpone taking the test to December - that was a big decision for me. It's only given twice a year, in June and December - I've been studying but due to everything going on concentrating is impossible. If it was just a test I'd go ahead and take it, but the problem is it costs $425 every time you take it and at that price I want to walk in knowing I'm going to pass. It was hard to let that go since I've already been studying for a few months and am not looking to have to repeat that, but I just cannot concentrate like I need to right now. So, I'll have another 5 months to prepare and by then I'll rock it - knowing I don't have to take it in a week and a half has really helped relieve the stress and I've slept the whole night the past two so I no longer feel like the walking dead. We will be flying out in July to visit Jackson and Brandi, I'm still working to come to terms with thier impending divorce but that will be an ongoing process. David started with the How and Why of it all but I told him we will deal with how were going to see everyone when it happens, like everything else in life we'll figure it out

Adam is doing VERY well I'm happy to share, it was rough but he's really pulled it together, I'm so proud of him! He still loves living in NOLA and does well there. We're hoping to have the flip house on the market the first week of July which will be a relief, David ended up running into a few unexpected problems but they've all been resolved, hopefully that's in. And we're currently trying to figure out exactly WHAT we are doing too. As the summer progresses we are arriving more and more at the decision this will not be our final house - I don't know if it's because it's still half finished or what, but it just does not feel like we will be staying here and I have a feeling by next year we'll be putting up a For Sale sign. Which is fine, there's always another adventure around the corner. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Heat Goes On

It has been so awful weather wise lately - I hate when people say "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" - it IS the heat. Since we still don't have central air it's a bit like living in the Congo without the exciting bits like gorillas or anacondas. David is hoping to have the flip done by the first week in July so we're hanging in there for now until he gets to our house. My leaving for work 45 minutes later in the morning is helping, David can get out of here early and be done before the afternoon heatwave hits. I sent him over with an old floor fan that but will only get you so far. We continue to be busy busy! We're visiting Jackson, Brandi and the girls in July, I have my CRRN test coming up at the end of June, we're trying to stay on top of the housework, the shopping and the bill paying.....and work. I have to work.

Work has been a bit weird - due to a paperwork glitch they opened the new office (hooray!) and then shut it two days later (boo)after we had moved everything and settled in. We can still work out of the office, we just can't have the charts there or do any patient related work(calls, faxing, etc...) from that office. So, we are nomads, I am there, I'm at the other  office and back again. It's very difficult but I can least work from the closer office most of the week and like I said, time wise - and gas wise! - it does really help. But I just feel discombobulated all the time with all this back and forth!

The killing spree has (forgive the pun!!) died down for now, Bob the cat was not feeling too well and David suggested she might need to be wormed due to all the citizens she ingested over the past 2 weeks.. She is a horror show to give ANYTHING so I thought this time I would speak in a soft, charming voice while wrapping her in a large and thick towel and then pumping 8cc of stuff she doesn't like down her gullet. I got as far as wrapping her in a large towel multiple times - I have to tell you it's pretty near impossible to speak in a soft charming voice while wrestling a squirming wildly suspicious cat - the whole thing was a cluster.....well, you know what kind of a cluster it was. I did manage to get a good 3 drops down her before she did one of those wild cat shrieks, dropped and rolled and left me holding 7.98 ccs and a bunch of shattered dreams. So, I threw out her food, gave her tuna fish with 7.98ccs mixed in and Bob, being a cat ate half. Bastard. I declared us mortal enemies until she ate the rest of it and told David  that Bob and I were no longer friends. Around 7 she started looking for treats and I pointed at her bowl - she sat, narrowed her eyes and meowed a lot. I tossed some treats in the bowl and mixed them in ,declared us enemies again and left the room. Yes, she did  eventually eat it after David announced he was planning on killing everyone involved in debacle. Bastards!